APA 6 VS APA 7 Differences

Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)  
In-text citation format for
three or more authors
In in-text citations of sources with three to five authors, list all authors the first time, then use et al. after that; for sources with six or more authors, use et al. for all citations. In in-text citations, use et al. for all citations for sources with three or more authors.
Direct quotation from audiovisual works No guidance from the manual itself (only the APA Style Blog). To quote directly from an audiovisual work, include a time stamp marking the beginning of the quoted material in place of a page number.
Dates listed in secondary source citations Secondary source citation does not include the date of the original source. Secondary source citation includes the date of the original source.
Number of author names
listed in a reference
Provide surnames and initials for up to seven authors in a reference entry. If there are eight or more authors, use three spaced ellipsis points after the sixth author, followed by the final author name (no ampersand). Provide surnames and initials for up to 20 authors in a reference entry. If there are 21 or more authors, use the ellipsis after the 19th, followed by the final author name (no ampersand).
Reference format when publisher and author are the same When a work’s publisher and author are the same, use the word “Author” as the name of the publisher in its reference entry. When a work’s publisher and author are the same, omit the publisher in its reference entry.
Issue numbers for journal articles in references Include issue number when journal is paginated separately by issue. Include issue number for all periodicals that have issue numbers.
Publisher location Provide publisher location (city, state, etc.) before publisher name. Do not include publisher location (city, state, etc.) after publisher name in a reference.
Reference for online work with no DOI If an online work has no DOI, provide the home page URL of the journal or of the book/report publisher. If an online work (e.g., a journal article) has no DOI and was found through an academic research database, generally, no URL is needed. The reference will look just like the print version.
Hyperlinks in DOI and URL formatting DOI begins with either “doi:” or with “https://doi.org/” in references. The recommendation that URLs should be in plain black text, not underlined, follows examples from APA 6 and the APA Style Blog. Both DOIs and URLs should be presented as hyperlinks (beginning with “http://” or “https://”). Standardize DOIs as starting with “https://doi.org/”. In documents to be read online, use live links. Blue/underlined or plain black text, not underlined, are both acceptable.
URL retrieval information in references URLs include a retrieval phrase (e.g., “Retrieved from”). The words “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” are no longer necessary before a URL. The only time the word “Retrieved” (and not “Retrieved from”) is needed is in those rare cases where a retrieval date is necessary (see p. 290, 9.16).
Website name in references
for online media
List the URL but not the website in the publication information. Include the name of the website in plain text, followed by a period, before the URL.
  Avoiding Bias  
Singular usage of “they” No mention of singular human pronouns other than traditional, binary “he” and “she” and their related forms. Use singular “they” and related forms (them, their, etc.) when (a) referring to a person who uses “they” as their preferred pronoun (b) when gender is unknown or irrelevant.
Disability Use person-first language. Both person-first and identity-first language “are fine choices overall” (p. 137). Okay to use either one until you know group preference.
Gender and noun/pronoun usage No guidance. Use individuals’ preferred names and pronouns even if they differ from official documents, keeping in mind concerns about confidentiality.
Race and ethnicity–Latin@ No guidance. “Latin@” for Latino and Latina can be used to avoid “Latino,” which is gendered.
Race and ethnicity–Latinx No guidance. “Latinx” can be used to include all gender identities.
  General Formatting/Mechanics  
Italics vs. quotation marks Use italics to highlight a letter, word, phrase, or sentence as a linguistic example (e.g., they clarified the distinction between farther and further). Use quotation marks to refer to a letter, word, phrase, or sentence as a linguistic example of itself (e.g., they clarified the difference between “farther” and “further”).
Numbers Numbers in the abstract of a paper should be expressed as numerals. Use numerals for numbers 10+ for all sections of the paper including the abstract (numbers in abstracts now follow general APA number rules).
Numbers expressing time Although numerals should be used for numbers that represent time (among other things) even if below 10, the number should be spelt out if it refers to an approximate amount of time (e.g., about three months ago). Numbers representing time are written as numerals, not spelt out, regardless of whether the time is exact or approximate (e.g. “about 7 weeks,” “3 decades,” or “approximately 5 years ago”).
Punctuation for bulleted lists within a sentence For bulleted lists within a sentence (i.e., when each list item is a word or phrase, not a complete sentence), use punctuation after each list element in the same way you would if the sentence had no bullets (i.e., commas or semicolons as appropriate and a period after the last item). For bulleted lists within a sentence, there is the option to either (a) use no punctuation after any of the list items, including the last, or (b) use punctuation after each bulleted item in the same way you would if the sentence had no bullets (as was the case in APA 6). The manual suggests that using no punctuation may be more appropriate for lists of shorter, simpler items. *Note: The term “seriation” does not appear in APA 7 and has been replaced by “lists” (see 6.50 for lettered lists, 6.51 for numbered lists, and 6.52 for bulleted lists).
Spacing after punctuation marks Recommendation to space twice after punctuation marks at the end of sentences to aid readers of draft manuscripts. Insert only one space after periods or other punctuation marks that end a sentence.
Preferred spellings of technology terms Based on how words were written in 6th edition manual, not explicit examples of spelling, preferred spellings were as follows: “e-mail,” “Internet,” and “web page.” 4.12 indicates spelling should conform to standard American English as in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Commonly used technology terms are listed and should be spelled as follows: “email,” “internet,” and “webpage.”
Use of abbreviations in headings No guidance in manual; On the archived sixth edition APA Style Blog, APA experts recommended not using abbreviations in headings. (see post titled “Can I use abbreviations in headings?”) Abbreviations can be used in headings if they were previously defined in the text (but cannot be defined in the heading itself), or if the abbreviation is exempt from needing definition because it appears as a term in the dictionary.
Acceptable fonts The preferred typeface is Times New Roman, 12-point. A variety of fonts are acceptable, with a focus on accessibility for readers. APA accepts sans serif fonts such as Calibri 11, Arial 11, and Lucida Sans Unicode 10, as well as serif fontssuch as Times New Roman 12, Georgia 11, and Computer Modern 10. Most institutions require Times New Roman 12.
  Paper-Specific Formatting  
Paper title length Recommended title length is no more than 12 words. No prescribed limit for title length (though recommendation for conciseness).
Title formatting Title in regular type (not bold). Title in bold type.  There is an institutional variation for titles (i.e., dissertations, doctoral studies, or projects): The title is in plain type. Students should refer to the APA 7 template for their program
Heading levels 3,4, and 5 formatting Levels 3, 4, and 5 are all indented and sentence case. Levels 3, 4, and 5 are all title case. Level 3 is now flush left, while 4 and 5 remain indented.
  Tables and Figures  
Tables Table number is plain type, table title is title case and set in italics; see Sample Tables 5.1 to 5.16. Table number is bold; table title is title case and set in italics. See Sample Tables 7.2 to 7.24.
Figures Figure number and caption are on same line and are placed below the figure; see Sample Figures 5.1 to 5.12. Figure number and caption are on separate lines and are placed above the figure, and the style matches that for tables: Figure number is bold, figure caption is title case and set in italics; see Sample Figures 7.2 to 7.21.
Comparison Table APA 6 VS APA 7


  • Running heads are no longer required for student papers.
  • Professional papers include a running head on every page, including the title page. However, the “Running head:” label used in the sixth edition is no longer used.
    • The running head is written in all capital letters. The running head should either be identical to the paper’s title, or a shortened form of the title that conveys the same idea. However, running heads should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation).
  • Font guidelines are now somewhat looser. So long as the same font is used throughout the text of the paper, a variety of fonts are acceptable.
  • The seventh edition of the APA Manual endorses the use of “they” as a singular pronoun. The manual advises writers to use “they” for a person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant.
    • For instance, rather than writing “I don’t know who wrote this note, but he or she has good handwriting,” you might write something like “I don’t know who wrote this note, but they have good handwriting.”
  • “They” should be used for a person who uses “they” as their personal pronoun. In both cases, derivatives of “they,” like “them,” “their,” “themselves,” and so on should also be used accordingly. Plural verbs should be used when “they” is referring to a single person or entity (e.g., use “they are a kind friend” rather than “they is a kind friend”).
  • Advises against anthropomorphizing language. Thus, non-human relative pronouns like “that,” and “which” are recommended for animals and inanimate objects, rather than “who.”
  • Use “person-first” language whenever possible. For instance, “a man with epilepsy” is generally preferable to “an epileptic” or “an epileptic man.”
  • Avoid using adjectives as nouns to describe groups of people (e.g., “the poor”). Instead, use these adjectives to describe specific nouns or use descriptive noun phrases (e.g., “people living in poverty”).
  • Use quotation marks around linguistic examples rather than highlighting these examples with italics. For example, one might write that a computer user should press the “F” key, rather than press the F key.
  • Regardless of the medium of the source, all sources with three authors or more are now attributed using the name of the first author followed by “et al.”
    • The only exception to this occurs when doing so would create ambiguity (e.g., if two papers have first-listed authors with the same name). In these cases, list as many names as needed to differentiate the papers, followed by “et al.”
  • New guidelines describe how to present quotations from research participants. Quotations from research participants should be formatted like normal quotations (e.g., if they are longer than 40 words, use a block quotation). However, you do not need to provide an in-text citation or a reference list entry. Instead, simply indicate that the quote is from a research participant in the text.
    • If attributing the quote to a pseudonym, enclose the name in quotation marks the first time you use it. After the first time, do not use quotation marks.
  • In the seventh edition, up to 20 authors should now be included in a reference list entry. For sources with more than 20 authors, after the 19th listed author, any additional authors’ names are replaced with an ellipsis (…) followed by the final listed author’s name. Do not place an ampersand before the final author’s name.
  • Digital object identifiers (DOIs) and URLs are now both presented as hyperlinks for electronic sources.
  • The label “DOI:” is no longer used for entries that include a DOI.
  • The words “Retrieved from” (preceding the URL or DOI) are now only used when a retrieval date is also provided in the citation.
  • New guidelines describe how to use DOIs and URLs when citing sources obtained from academic research databases or online archives. In short, you should end the database/archive portion of the citation entry with a period, then provide the DOI or URL.